The Maya Empire which was located in what is known as Guatemala reached its peak in the 16th A.D. The main economic activities in the empire included farming, pottery, and hieroglyph, making of calendars and writing (History, 1). It was characterized by nice architecture and symbolic artworks. It was a home to thousands of residents who engaged in different activities that saw it rise over the rest of the empires.
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One of the significant contributing factors that led to the growth of Maya is the rainforest. Initially, ancient people flourished when residing in drier areas. In this empire, there was a centralized management of water resources (History, 1). The existence of plenty of water contributed significantly to the growth of the agricultural sector. As a result, the population increased and the level of specialization in the empire increased. Therefore, people would engage in other sectors because there was plenty of food.
In the southern part, farming could not take place. Therefore, people opted to look for better ways of survival in order to sustain their needs. The empire was rich in natural resources. For instance, the region had gold, silver, limestone, and salt. These were major trading commodities which played a significant role in the overall growth of the empire. In addition, the southern parts had rivers that could be navigated with ease. Therefore, traders were able to move to the interior parts of the empire to fetch these commodities. As a result, the changes in the climatic conditions which left the lower part of the empire dry forced people to shift towards trade and mining (Pollard, 76). This played a significant role in accelerating the growth of the region.
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Frequent outbreak of diseases in the forest is another major aspect that led to the growth of empire. Initially, people were scattered in the forests and were living as families. However, disease outbreaks made majority of them to move to drier areas. This brought people with different skills together. Some of them were masons, others decided to continue farming in rain forests to supply the empire with food. Some opted to trade and bring new supplies in the empire. Therefore, diversity kept people together and enhance the level of cohesiveness, thereby, enabling them to focus on other sectors of the economy (History, 56).
The clearing of forests in the neighbouring land contributed significantly to the growth of the empire. Initially, many empires collapsed due to lack of food supplies. Majority of them were dependent on foods that were traded from other empires. However, the clearing of forests created more land for farming (History, 1). As a result, the empire could produce enough to feed its people and trade the remainder with other empires. The exchange of goods with other empire brought more wealth and enabled the leaders to govern people towards prosperity.
In conclusion, the success of the Maya empire was mainly contributed by the unseen force of climatic conditions and topography. The strategic location of the empire near the forest gave it an upper hand when compared with other empires. People were able to exploit these resources and create room for other economic activities. In addition, the clearing of the forests created an opportunity for the farmers to meet the increasing demand within the empire and promote trade by exchanging agricultural products with the neighbouring empires. Lastly, disease outbreaks brought people together, an aspect that led to economic growth of the empire.
- History. “Maya – Facts & Summary.” HISTORY.com, 2017.
- History, Robert. The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century. 2007.
- Pollard, Elizabeth. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: Volume 2. 2015.